HANSON — While they were aware she was looking for a new position, town officialswere a bit surprised on Monday, July 24 when Marybeth MacKay, recreation director since April, tendered her resignation effective Friday, July 28.
Town Administrator Michael McCue said that MacKay had tendered her resignation letter to him during the day July 24 and he forwarded it to the Recreation Commission for action at its meeting that evening.
“They are technically her hiring authority and they accepted her resignation Monday night,” he said.
In the interim, he authorized MacKay to go home early on Monday while he “figured out the best thing to do in terms of going forward,” McCue then met with Recreation Chairman Annmarie Bouzan and both agreed MacKay could return keys, laptop and other items on Tuesday, July 25. She was paid for Monday and Tuesday and was then done for the week.
MacKay had accepted a similar position in the private sector at an assisted living center in Middleboro, MacKay and Selectmen Chairman James McGahan said Friday.
“She was off the books as of Tuesday,” he said. She was still within the six-month probationary period.
A call placed to MacKay’s Lakeville home for comment was not returned.
“If it was a perfect scenario, [a municipality would take] a couple of months to fill such a job,” McGahan said of the hiring process she likely went through in Middleboro. “A private company would have a shorter time period.”
“They’d go a lot quicker than us,” McCue agreed. “We knew she was looking, but we had no idea that it was imminent.”
McCue said it has yet to be determined how the process to find another recreation director would progress, but the Recreation Commission will be asked to meet with Selectmen for an open discussion on the matter in the near future.
The previous applicants, interviewed during the process through which MacKay was chosen likely would also be contacted again for new interviews.
“It kind of shortens up the process,” McGahan said. “I have no influence with the Recreation Commission, though.” He noted he has received calls from residents interested in the job, but makes it clear that decision is not his to make, all he can do is pass that information along.
“I don’t want to influence it,” he said.
McCue said the candidate who was in consideration along with MacKay, but at the time was not yet back from living in Dublin, Ireland, would still be a strong candidate this time around.
“There were a couple qualified people,” McCue said. “The runner-up was not back from Dublin. He’s from here originally and had been in Dublin for about 10 years.” He had been about six weeks away from his moving date during the last round of interviews.
“He may be down the street and around the corner and we may be able to speak with him,” he said. “She was always the number one candidate and he was a close two.”
Both McGahan and McCue said they would not be surprised if the June meeting during which MacKay narrowly avoided losing the Hanson job by a 3-3 vote of the Recreation Commission motivated her to look elsewhere.
“There was a red flag there,” McGahan said of the vote.
“I don’t blame her for that,” McCue said of MacKay’s decision to seek a new position. “I would have done the same thing.”
McGahan noted that the automated accounting system that was to be set up for the director to use, as recommended by former Selectman Bruce Young, to develop a more transparent financial system at Camp Kiwanee had been a sticking point for MacKay.
“We knew we had problems on that,” McGahan said of the past contract process for Kiwanee events. “We had contracts that were half signed [before a full-time director was sought], we saw big discounts given … we want an official record and a system that accounts for that.”
MacKay was supposed to take over responsibility for the automated accounting system.
“Bruce had a pretty solid idea for how things should go forward,” said McCue, who started forwarding that process to the new commission when it was formed. “As soon as we hired Marybeth, I completely handed everything off to her.”
Both McGahn and McCue said nothing more was done after that. McGahan said asking a few companies in to demonstrate their software was all that was needed to be done to accomplish the accounting requirement.
“If I were hired as recreation director, that would be the number one item on my list, because you’re talking about money coming in and out,” he said. McGahan acknowledged, however, that the problem of a lifeguard shortage was properly addressed by closing the beach early during the past week for training.
Both McCue and McGahn also agreed that Bouzan and the Recreation Commission is doing a great job.
“Annmarie and I have not always been in alignment, but he does her job and she does it well,” McGahan said.